Mark Brandon Read AKA Chopper

Address: Tas, Australia
Age: 68
Sex: Male


Date: 1992
Charges: Attempted murder

In 1992, Read was convicted of shooting Sydney Michael Edward Collins in the chest. The incident took place in Read's car, which was in the driveway of Collins' residence at Evandale, Tasmania. The bullet was recovered from the backseat of the vehicle as well as Collins' naming Read as the shooter. Pleading not-guilty, Read was found to be guilty of grievous bodily harm, a downgraded charge from attempted murder, and sentenced as a 'dangerous criminal' and detained for indefinite release at the Governor's Pleasure. He walked free early in 1998. In 2002, Mark Read was again questioned over the disappearance of Sydney Collins, who is still on the Australian Missing Person list after going missing under suspicious circumstances.


Mark "Chopper" Read was one of the most feared men in the Melbourne criminal underground in the 1970`s and 1980`s.

When Read was released from prison in November 1991, he had spent 17 years of his adult life behind bars.

**Read`s criminal record dating back to 1971, included sentences for robbing massage parlors and impersonating a police officer, blowing a man`s leg off with a shotgun, stabbing another man in the neck with a pair of scissors and shooting another man in the stomach.**

He also was jailed for three years for setting fire to a house while a man was inside.

In one of his more bizarre acts, Read attempted to abduct a County Court judge.

In 1987, Read shot and killed drug dealer Siam Ozerkam outside a St Kilda disco but was acquitted on grounds of self-defence, a decision that both surprised and delighted him.

**He has admitted that if he was convicted for all the crimes he has committed, he would do "a 1000 years` jail".**

He also has confessed that he had criminally injured more than 50 people during his life as a criminal, including burning toes off with a blow-torch for money.

Read said his criminal days were over after his release in 1991, but going straight was something he was not used to.

"I`ve never stood in a queue in a supermarket before in my life. I`ve never had to buy a car, I`d just borrow someone else`s," he said.

"I have spent 17 years of the last 20 in jail and trying to be an honest bloke takes a bit of getting used to." Read said he also found budgeting hard on the other side.

"I always had money in my pocket from robbing drug dealers. When I was hungry I would just go and have a counter meal," he said. "I reckon it`s easier to be a gunman than an accountant."

Following his release from jail Read moved to Tasmania to live a "quieter life", but by the end of the following year he had another serious conviction added to his criminal dossier.

Read shot friend Sydney Collins in the chest from close range with a 9mm Beretta pistol on May 13 after he and Read had been drinking at the Clarendon Arms Hotel in nearby Evendale.

Several reports told of Read`s close friendship with Collins. He had paid for Collins` girlfriend`s wedding dress.

Read was in the front seat of his car, being driven by a man named Trent Anthony and Collins was in the back seat. He turned around and shot his former friend in the stomach.

"Chopper" was charged with attempted murder, but this was later reduced to grievous bodily harm.

**Following his arrest Read sent the following letter to Collins in hospital: "Dear Sid, I regret to inform you that I will be unable to attend your forthcoming wedding celebrations due to pending legal matters. Wishing you a speedy recovery; Regards, Mark."**

Assessment of Read by two forensic psychiatrists found him to be "charming, friendly, intelligent, articulate and very plausible."

Read, who claims to have made a living by standing over and torturing drug dealers, has in recent years made a small fortune in the role as an author, with books including Hits and Memories, How to Shoot Friends and Influence People and For the Term of His Unnatural Life.

In August 2000 Read was back in the news, but not for his criminal activity. He was the subject of a movie, called "Chopper", which opened to a roaring success around the country.